child of God, wife, mother, recovering anorexic who longs to see the beauty in herself that she sees in the world around her

Sunday, July 11, 2010

my husband

I had to ask my husband when he became aware of my eating struggles.  I knew that he knew, but I don't remember telling him.  He is so unbelievably observant that I wasn't sure that he wasn't one of the people who noticed and asked.  It's important to me to know simply because my husband has been the biggest external healing factor for me in this battle. Apparently I told him of my frustration when the other two guys were forcing me to eat and handling accountability so wrongly.  I honestly don't remember confiding this in my husband who was then just one of my close friends, but I do remember him loving me in spite of my eating disorder.

He patiently listened to me when I came to him crying because a guy in the youth group had said he could bench me.  I know, stupid thing to cry over, right?  I remember being livid with this guy because he tried to guess my weight.  Poor dumb fool. I, unfortunately for him, taught him the hard way to not discuss weight with a woman.  He smiled and said, "I could totally bench you.  What are you, like a buck-ten?"  My crazy won out and I screamed uncontrollably at him.  I told him to never ever ever talk about my weight or any other woman's weight again.  He was confused because neither he nor the other people in the office at that moment had ever seen this side of me.  I screamed, I punched him in the arm, I threw some papers on the floor and I stomped out.  That evening I told my some day husband about my crazy episode.  He never judged.  He was so unbelievably kind and understanding.

Early in my marriage my struggle once again got very difficult for a time.  My husband never forced me to eat or asked me about food.  He did however ask that I at least join him at the table while he ate.  He said he wanted my company.  He would ask me to take one bite.  I remember him having pizza and asking me to take one bite and then he wouldn't ask anymore of me if I couldn't.  I took one bite.  I cried the entire time I chewed it and nearly gagged as I swallowed it.  He kept his promise and didn't ask me to eat anymore. 

I'm sure it has been difficult over the years to not harp on me about what or when I've eaten.  I know I haven't made it easy for him.  But through it all, he has always been kind and understanding.  He has in so many ways been the physical manifestation of God's grace and healing in my life.  In the beginning of our marriage I, of course, had physical issues.  I felt that since I was married, that I never had to be touched again in my life.  I would try to "humor" him when he was feeling amorous but my heart wasn't in it.  He many times pulled away from me and said, "No, your mind isn't here and if I can't have all of you, I don't want to take any."  He wouldn't allow me to just go through the motions of sex, I had to be mentally with him as well or he would stop me. 

It was a long time before I learned why people refer to it as making love.  My dear sweet husband taught me that.  As I was loved unconditionally, in spite of my huge flaws and shortcomings, my heart began to trust.  As I began to trust him as a man, I began to heal.  Little by little my heart started healing.  I don't remember when I started eating regularly again.  I do though remember once looking in the mirror after I had gotten out of the shower and realizing that I couldn't count my ribs anymore.  I traced my throat with my hands and was suddenly aware that my collar bone no longer jutted out.  I looked at myself in the mirror and for the first time in my entire life, liked what I saw.

I liked that I was starting to look like a woman.  I liked that I didn't look constantly sick, pale, too thin etc.  That was the beginning of an incredible feeling.  That was when I realized that I could be beautiful not just sexy.  That was when I realized that looking healthy was a look I liked.  I excitedly showed my husband that evening when he got home from work.  I removed my clothes and showed him my ribs and collar bone.  He smiled and ever so sweetly told me I had never looked more beautiful and more like a woman.  That was the beginning of years of "sobriety".

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